Expert group formed to frame RRZ rules

First time that rivers and floodplains of India will get legal protection

neha

Neha Sethi | May 17, 2011



We might not see any new constructions like the Akshardham temple and the Commonwealth Games Village coming up on the Yamuna river floodplains in New Delhi. The ministry of environment and forests has ordered the constitution of an expert group to formulate the guidelines for management of riverfronts through the river regulation zone (RRZ).

RRZ is an idea which was mooted by green activists more than four years ago. Agreeing to the demand from activists, environment minister Jairam Ramesh announced in January that his ministry would come out with an RRZ notification on the lines of the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) to prevent harmful constructions in the riverbed .

In an order dated May 10, the MoEF has said that the expert group will be headed by J M Mauskar, special secretary in the ministry. There are nine other members in the group including Prof Brij Gopal, a retired professor from the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

“Prof Brij Gopal is the proponent of the need for a river regulation zone in the country,” said Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan. Misra has also been writing to the minister emphasising the need for RRZ.

Misra said that this is the first time that the rivers and floodplains of India will get legal protection. “The area of the riverbed will be divided into zones, just as it is done in the case of CRZ,” he said. Misra expected that the zone closest to the river channel would be called RRZ-I and no activities would be permitted on it. “This area should be secured for flood water,” he said.

“In RRZ-II, only ecologically compatible activities should be allowed,” Misra said.

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